Film Review: Alien Outpost

AlienOutpost_posterSet in the near future and packing quite a punch, Alien Outpost (Outpost 37) is a sci-fi action film genre fans will absolutely want to check out in theaters or on VOD. Directed by Jabbar Raisani, the film’s pseudo-documentary style does a decent job of setting up a not too far in the future world (2021) decimated by an alien invasion turned into a years-long standoff. Pitting a small yet dedicated group of soldiers against a weakened but still overwhelming force in a small, deadly area between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the men of Outpost 37 will face hazards and horrors from the aliens who have begun to use some of the locals to their advantage.

The film works well on a visceral level because despite some humorous banter flitting in and out between the soldiers, the tone is dead serious and believable to a good extent. It would have been nice to see more of the main enemy, though. Other than a short bit at the camp, those Heavies are only viewed briefly during action sequences and mostly at a distance. However, from the brief but impressive CG footage that opens the film and assorted “news” clips of destruction worldwide, we can see that they came, saw and almost conquered the planet. Troops around the world initially sent out to combat the Heavies end up stuck where they are thanks to the war dragging on so long that it’s become an underfunded albatross of a conflict. Yes, the movie can be seen as a heavy handed allegory, but it’s an entertaining heavy-handed allegory provided you’re not expecting epic battles and don’t mind the mirror the film holds up to current events.

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Alien Outpost Final Trailer: That Invasion? It’s Coming Sooner Than You Think!


 

AlienOutpost_posterThanks to a too crazy month of stuff knocking me about, I’d almost forgotten that Alien Outpost was arriving in theaters and on VOD this Friday. IFC Midnight has been putting out a nicely varied mix of genre films for a while now and between this one, Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead (yes, I’ll have a review up for that awesome indie shortly) plus a few other flicks on the way, it’s clear that massive budgets and major stars aren’t at all required to make compelling entertainment.

The mix of “found footage” documentary and intense sci-fi action should appeal to you weekend warriors looking for a little cinematic diversion to spend a slice of time with. Back with a review and more shortly…

Random Film of the Week(end): Malibu High

Malibu High MP 1979In the storied pantheon of “High school girl goes bad, turns to prostitution and murder to make ends meet, meets end tragically” films, Irvin Berwick’s 1979 exploitation classic Malibu High is probably the “best” of the bunch. Well, I’m not sure “best” is the proper word to use for a film this bizarre, but you genre fans know what I mean.

That cute poster on the left makes it look like a typical pre-80’s sex comedy flick packed with lowbrow laughs. But man, is it oh soooooooo misleading. Yes, there are laughs to be had here and plenty of them. But the film’s general tone straddles the line between parody and interesting attempts to be serious with breathtaking results… Continue reading

Wyrmwood: Dead Down Under In This High-Octane Horror Hybrid

WyrmwoodROTDposter 

With no signs of stopping zombie films (and believe me, I’ve tried!), it’s great to see directors getting a bit more creative than usual with the genre. Case in point, WYRMWOOD, see to land in theaters February 13th, 2015 courtesy IFC Midnight. First time director (and co-writer) Kiah Roache-Turner takes the standard undead stalking the living formula and adds it to a post-zombie apocalyptic Down Under setting with some interesting characters and twists galore. Sure, it’s rocking that Mad Max meets Dawn of the Dead vibe somewhat fierce. But there seem to be enough laughs here to evenly balance out the gore factor and if there’s anything a good horror hybrid movie needs, it’s some decent humor to break up the monotony. Well, at least I think so.

Here’s the trailer:


 

As well as what your ticket money gets you (fun!):

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WYRMWOOD
In Select Theaters on February 13th

 

Zombies invade the Australian Outback in this brain-splattered, Mad Max-meets-the-undead thrill ride. When an apocalyptic event turns everyone around him-including his wife and daughter-into marauding zombies, everyman mechanic Barry arms himself to the teeth, soups up his car, and hits the road in order to rescue his sister from a deranged, disco-dancing mad doctor. Bursting with high-octane car chases, crazy-cool homemade weaponry, and enough blood-and-guts gore to satisfy hardcore horror fans, WYRMWOOD: ROAD OF THE DEAD takes the zombie flick to bone-crunchingly berserk new heights.

 

 

Cast: Jay Gallagher, Bianca Bradey, Leon Burchill, Luke McKenzie, Yure Covich, Catherine Terracini, Keith Agius, Meganne West

 

Directed by: Kiah Roache-Turner

 

Written by: Tristan Roache-Turner, Kiah Roache-Turner

 

Genre: Action/Horror

 

Distributor: IFC Midnight

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Sounds like a plan. Bring a date and all that stuff. I think I’ll need to review this one for sure…

MVD Visual Wants YOU To Get Motivational Growth!

Motivational Growth Blu-Ray Cover
 

Well, after seeing the trailer for this February DVD/Blu-Ray release, so do I. And you thought you had problems getting and sticking to your simple New Year’s resolutions. Poor, strange Ian Folivor above needs to get his entire life in order and thanks to a chunk of talking mold in his rather nasty-looking bathroom, he gets the chance. Of course, this being a horror film, all sorts of things go wrong and there will probably be a few bodies hitting the floor before all is said and done. Which is exactly how it should be in cases where a talking mold takes up residence in one’s bathroom.


 

Coming on home video from Parade Deck Films, Motivational Growth is written and directed by Don Thacker and stars horror veteran Jeffrey Combs (as the voice of the mold), Adrian DiGiovanni as Ian as well as a bunch of other actors you may or may not know who may or may not survive the film. Or their characters may or may not survive. You know the drill, but horror comedies like this are always more entertaining in my opinion because you’re laughing and cringing for all the RIGHT reasons. MVD Visual ships this one out next month, but you can pre-order it here if you’re into this sort of thing.

Motivational Growth MVD Visual 

Since you’re read this far, that must mean you are, so you certainly don’t need any motivation from me at all, right? Ha, I thought so…

WATCH THIS: Nothing Lasts Forever… Unless It’s on TCM!

Nothing Lasts Forever MP 

Finally, one of the bucket list 80’s film for many folks my age is coming to TV legally and I couldn’t be happier. Well, I actually COULD be happier if TCM was showing Nothing Lasts Forever at a more sane hour. For a big premiere of a film many have desired seeing on the big screen, that 2am (EST) start time just made me say, “really?” out loud when I found out. Which was funny because I was at the library and when I said that, two guys who were talking next to me thought I was referring to the conversation they were having that I didn’t hear. Oops.

Okay, not that I’m not a complete night owl at times (all my candles have wicks on either end), but come on now. Still, this bodes well if the damn film also nets a DVD/Blu-Ray release at some point in the near future. Or at the very least, more and earlier showings on TCM. Here’s a fan-made trailer from a few years back just to pique your interest in case you’re wondering what I’m gushing about:

(thanks, mpjstreeter!)
 

I’m not sure if they track their ratings as obsessively as network stations do, but I’m betting a lot of people will be staying up later than usual to catch this. The other upside to all this is if you still happen to be awake and giddy afterwards, you can sit through John Carpenter’s 1981 classic, Escape From New York, which amusingly enough fits the theme of the previous film, albeit in a more comically violent manner. Anyway, I’ll put on some coffee as soon as I walk in the door, maybe do a few push-ups and jump into the shower to keep awake. I was up late into the morning today (see my previous post) and had forgotten the film was on later today, er, tomorrow morning. Fear not, dear readers – I’ll be awake to see it in its entirety. My Sunday may either be spent half asleep for the better part of the morning or wishing I could see the movie again because I missed something.

MGM had better come through with a home video release at some point. I’m betting a lot of people will be replacing bootlegs with a better version that will hopefully have some decent special features.

Random Film of the Week: Strait-Jacket

Strait-JacketSomething has always bugged me about the 1964 William Castle horror/thriller flick Strait-Jacket ever since I first saw it as a kid. Nope, it’s not the too close to Psycho plot points courtesy of writer Robert Bloch (who also wrote that classic). And it’s certainly not Joan Crawford’s wide and wild-eyed performance as Lucy Harbin, the freed after twenty years in an asylum ax murderess now going through a potential relapse victim as the bodies start piling up again. It’s also definitely not Castle’s direction that downplays some of the camp potential of the material and goes for a handful of genuinely nifty 60’s era shocks.

Nope. What bugged me about the film that still bugs me today is how the hell George Kennedy’s creepy farmhand Leo painted three quarters of a car with the smallest damn can of paint and what looks like a two or three-inch wide brush. HOW DID HE DO THAT?!!
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Random Film of the Week: To The Devil… A Daughter

To The Devil A Daughter MPSwiping bits from Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist while leaving a “Why the hell am I watching this again?” aftertaste, To The Devil… A Daughter manages to be a pretty bizarre and somewhat unintentionally 1976 funny horror film from Hammer Studios. From what I understand by poking around a few books and online, the UK film industry was in a bit of a mess when this mess was made and it shows in a few key areas. Granted, you do get Christopher Lee in a scenery-chewing performance for the ages (including a brief nude scene performed by a double!) and Richard Widmark making a payday and playing an occult writer turned cranky old action hero long before Liam Neeson.

Yes, you also get a too young Nastassia Kinski flailing about and screaming as if possessed (well, she kind of is) in her part as a fallen “nun” and trying too hard to keep up with the other more experienced cast doing their own screaming and flailing about. Yes, the film is also notorious for the infamous bloody baby demon hand puppet molestation and a shot near the finale of her fully nude. While some genre fans may groove on that little detail, for some new viewers those elements will just come off as creepy central.. and not in a good way, either. Continue reading

Memo to Sony: make.believe You’ve Got Some Backbone.

The Interview (Sony Pictures 2014) (Custom) Hmmm. As stupid as this whole Sony hacking thing has been to try and avoid, now we’re at the stage where things get even weirder because it now has to be followed. Sony Pictures has decided to kill The Interview, pulling not only the film’s premiere this week, but the actual Christmas launch entirely. Of course, the company is being called out and called all sorts of names by other media companies. “Holy irony of ironies and if it were them, what would THEY do, Batman?” Answer: “Probably the same damn thing, old chum.” More on that in a second.

Anyway, things have gotten so wretched that even George R.R. Martin has chimed in with a LiveJournal post (wait, people STILL use LiveJournal?) chiding “Regal, AMC, and every other major theatre chain in the United States” along with Sony for caving hard over threats of potential violence and other protests had the film been screened anywhere in the U.S. of A. Good on you, George! Please don’t kill me off in a response, sir.

As for Sony, All I have to say is “Yikes!”... Continue reading

The Phoenix Project: Will it Rise to the Occasion for Sci-Fi Fans?

The Phoenix Project In short, raising the dead means raising hell if you’re careless (go, sci-fi science!), and of course this makes for some interesting films. The Phoenix Project is coming in January from FilmBuff and Ironwood Gang. Based on the IMBD trailer, looks quite interesting. I’ll hold off any further comments until I get my grubby paws on some sort of screener, but it’s pretty cool to get a vibe from a few other films while watching this teaser. A little Re-Animator here, some Frankenstein there, a dash of (and hopefully ONLY a dash of) Flatliners somewhere on the bottom, shake well and BOOM.

We’ll see if the final version is up to snuff soon enough. Hey, you look as if you need to read a bit of a press release. You go do that, I’ll go make some popcorn:

 

THE PHOENIX PROJECT

In Select Theaters & VOD/Digital Download on January 16th, 2015

Four young scientists work to craft a machine to reanimate deceased organisms. As the project develops, the machine exceeds their wildest expectations, creating boundless possibilities that challenge the very nature of human existence. However, success with this experiment comes at a price, as ulterior motives and reckless abandon lead to consequences none of them could predict. As their time and resources fade, this team of visionary scientists must face the realities of the task they have set out for themselves, bringing the dead back to life.

Directed & Written by: Tyler Graham Pavey
Cast: Corey Rieger, Andrew Simpson, David Pesta & Orson Ossman

Distributor: Film Buff

Genre: Sci-Fi, Drama

Runtime: 92 minutes